To El Valle de Anton! Part 1

Picking up where we left off on the “Last-Days-In-Panama-A-Year-Ago” series, let me get you oriented again. :) Daniel, Natasha and I lived in Boquete, Panama for 5 months, but before returning to the States, we wanted to see more of Panama. First off, we spent a few days on the Carribbean on Red Frog Beach, and now we are headed to El Valle de Anton before flying home. So here we pick up en route to the town in a volcano.

To get to Panama City, where we would catch our 2 1/2 hour ride to El Valle, we needed to take an overnight bus ride to the city. We waited around in the rain to get everyone collected, watched the school kids line up for snacks and then we set off.

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Overnight bus rides are supposed to be very handy in the sense that you can sleep, and arrive the next morning at your destination all ready to see the sights. Of course, you don’t get to see much scenery, but sometimes this is how it works out. I had heard rumors of these buses being incredibly cold, and it was a true rumor. We were so cold. The freezing type of air conditioning, that leaves you grumpy. Then, the bus began to sway on the twisting mountain roads, and I got a little woozy. Combine that with hunger, sleepiness and a coldness that had seeped into my bones, it made for a rather unpleasant and very long bus ride. As for the sleeping-while-riding-plan, it did not work. They stop about twice for bathroom breaks and refreshments, about two more times for passport checks and random passenger pickups. That means that all the lights are flicked on, and sleeping is nearly impossible.

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We finally arrived very early in the morning at the bus station in Panama City, where we happily greeted the humidity of southern Panama. I was so sleepy that I could hardly keep my eyes open to watch the luggage while Daniel and Natasha took a walk around the mall. (Yep, the bus station is in an open style mall.) We didn’t leave for a few hours, so we had time to watch the mall get busier with everyone grabbing the daily paper, and had breakfast at our favorite little cafeteria-style restaurant before catching our smaller bus to El Valle.

Upon arriving in El Valle, it seemed deserted! Our bus driver wasn’t sure where our lodging was, and after a couple mixed up connections at the bus stop, a neighbor of our hostess gave us a ride in his truck to the rightful location. After not getting much sleep on the bus overnight, and not having properly showered for a few days, this was like heaven.

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{The view from our front porch}

We quickly made ourselves right at home, took hot showers and slept the afternoon away. I think I’ll always remember the happy feelings of being clean, comfortable and totally relaxed that day. We had no where we needed to be, no obligations to meet, and it. felt. great.

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{Our little apartment}

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Later that day we slowly crawled out of  hibernation and explored the garden right outside our door. Our hostess greeted us with a baby sloth, which was riding on her front in a fabric sling. If I remember correctly, she was keeping it for a friend for some reason, who had found it. Since baby sloths need skin contact for something like the first 9 months of their lives, she and her husband share the sloth-wearing, just like babywearing. :)

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It was so terribly soft!!

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The very next day was Natasha’s 2nd birthday. So be prepared for a Natasha-themed-post coming up next. :)

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